Michael Peter Smith, Songwriter
NEWS! Coming this fall Michael P. Smith “Moby Dick”. (read more here)
And this winter: Michael’s thrilling storytelling tutorial on: favorite songs (Jamaica Farewell, Save the Last Dance, Lord Randall, I am the Walrus), the inspiration for his classic tunes (Demon Lover, The Ballad of Dan Moody, and The Dutchman) and his canny tricks for navigating the guitar. You WANT to hear this. Listen: http://www.jamieoreilly.com/on-songwriting-michael-smith-c…/
“I did care and I still DO care about messing around with songwriting. I’ll do this all my life and see what turns out. I’m writing for myself…I’ll choose to be happy…I’m not ready to shut this factory down.”
(From Michael’s radio documentary on Sweet Folk Chicago.)
Booking Policy. Jamie O’Reilly requires a deposit, as well as a guarantee, to secure a date for Michael Smith to perform. Deposit can be made by credit card via PayPal, check or cash. The amount is based on the lead time and % to the artist. Read about Jamie’s services here on the artist services page.
“Michael Smith stands out as one of the few undisputed geniuses among singer-songwriters.” (Sing Out! Magazine)
“Michael Smith, a truly remarkable songwriter, teaches his craft to a roomful of students at a
songwriting workshop in The Studios at SPACE. After the class, he performed his gorgeous, intricate, and often hilarious songs to a sold out crowd. An incredible night with this gifted musician!” (-Evanston S.P.A.C.E. photo by Kelly)
LINKS AND DOWNLOADS
Performances & touring schedule
Bio (scroll down)
Promo flyer: MichaelPeterSmith-flyer-7
Library recommendation letter: Michael Smith Recommendation
Jamie O’Reilly, booking & promo consultant
Contact us for bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
READ MORE ABOUT MICHAEL
Here’s what Mr. Chuang-Tzu has to say about home towns
If your life is true you don’t have to go far
To find heaven and earth on the rim of your doorway
To have ocean and sky everywhere that you are
Wherever you go
Whatever you do
He stays in your head…
Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee
Long ago I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me
Wherever he is – touring concert venues, clubs, theaters, folk festivals,
at house concerts, and teaching writing workshops. In powerful songs, award-winning musical scores, and unforgettable recordings – musical mastery is in whatever he does.
Sister Clarissa could have been on the stage
But Jesus came over and told her
He’d rather she taught the fifth grade
You’ve seen Michael perform, or heard him speak, you know what stands out about him. If you haven’t – book him now.
There are some ways I’m just like him
Some ways he was just like me
And sometimes when the mirror’s dim
His face is clear to see
Master of the Story Song
“Michael Smith is a master of the story song and the character sketch, invoking a Carver-like economy at the one end and the subtlety of Proust at the other…In his characters, whimsy and humor mingle with much darker intimations. Each song comes from a place so vividly evoked that it makes you want to go and live, not there, but rather more completely in your own life. “ (Foley Schuler)
“Hearing the songs of Michael Smith in this day and age is like reading an anthology of Hemingway’s short stories after decades of only comic books. It’s a realization that songs can hold a whole lot more than they’re usually expected to hold, they can possess a genuine sense of place and time as evocative and magical as the finest literature.” (Paul Zollo)
Michael Smith, the lyricist, composer and performer of renown, is a voracious reader and never at a loss for material. As early as age 16, when he set the words that appeared on the grave of Robert Louis Stevenson, Michael was adapting and setting literature, children’s stories, and poetry to music.
Michael’s songs set poems by F. Garcia Lorca (Five in the Afternoon), Wallace Stevens (Blue Guitar), Chilean poets Gabriela Mistral (Swallow) and Pablo Neruda, as well as Irish poetry (Songs of the Kerry Madwoman), set in a chamber opera, with poems by Patricia Monaghan, and Chinese Tang Dynasty poets (Painted Horse). Passages from Robert Cole’s “The Spiritual Lives of Children” were transformed in We Become Birds. The words of essayist Ann Carson appear in a surprising way in Michael’s song Seurat. Michael’s original work was featured at the Poetry Foundation: And the Poet Sang”, (2013) with Jamie O’Reilly and Peter Swenson, and in Brecht’s Letters with Steppenwolf’s Martha Lavey (2014). He is currently presenting songs inspired by Melville’s Moby Dick, with the celebrated Blair Thomas & Co. (see more below).
Everyone’s a giant when you’re a little kid
Everyone’s a giant but you
(Selfish Giant, now at CDBaby.com)
Composer – Michael in the theater and on the road
Michael is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious
Hans Christian Andersen Award for his adaption of
The Snow Queen, for which he also wrote the musical score.
Blair Thomas & Co’s, current project, Moby-Dick, was seen at the prestigious Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, features Michael’s original compositions. He is recording those songs and more for a Moby Dick album, due out summer of 2016.
OTHER COLLABORATIONS & COMPOSITIONS
Michael’s extensive catalog of compositions includes critically acclaimed theatrical scores, recordings, and award-winning productions. He wrote the music for the 1990 Tony Award–winning Steppenwolf production The Grapes of Wrath (1990). Michael Margaret Pat & Kate (1994) at Victory Gardens Theatre earned him four Joseph Jefferson Citations, including Best Original Music. His collaboration with Jamie O’Reilly resulted in Pasiones: Songs Of The Spanish Civil War (1997) directed by Peter Glazer, at Chicago’s Theater on the Lake included with tours to the Tribeca Center for the Arts in New York City, Pabst Theater in Oakland, CA, Yale University and more. Also for Victory Gardens, Michael composed the score for Hello Dali: From the Sublime to the Surreal (2000) with Jamie. Their production that received an After Dark Award for Best New Work.
Other original scores include The Gift of the Magi (2003) for Judith Svalander Dance Theatre at the Woodstock Opera House, and the chamber opera Songs of the Kerry Madwoman (2006) for the DePaul Humanities Center and The Heart Songs of Opal Whiteley with collaborator Anne Hills. Michael was a featured artist/songwriter for the Poetry Foundation in And the Poet Sang (with Jamie O’Reilly,) and Brecht’s Love Poems (with Steppenwolf ensemble members Martha Lavey, Tim Hopper, and Jessica Anne Thebus).
“He’s our Picasso.” (Kathy Kelly, WNUR Folk Show)
“Amazing keynote address, songwriting talk and performances at FARM last weekend. I was moved to tears, enlightened and reinvigorated. Thank you.” (Scott, fall 2011)
“The thing that stands out most in Michael’s work is his unpredictable creativity just when you think you know where he’s going, lyrically or musically, he’ll turn a metaphoric corner on you, double back, sneak up behind you and slip a rainbow in your pocket.” (Hill Country House Concerts, Bulverde Texas)
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE “Michael P. Smith, Songwriter”
Listen to Michael
-Interview with WGN Radio host Rick Kogan
-Buy downloads at CD Baby
MUSIC. Now on CDBABY and iTunes!
“The Selfish Giant”
Singing and playing a variety of instruments, Smith performs a charming group of songs, inspired by Oscar Wilde’s story. Written for a theatrical production created by puppeteer Blair Thomas. Pure joy!
Get it here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/michaelpsmith1
“The Gift of the Magi”
Digital Downloads at CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/msjo
“A veritable Christmas basket, overflowing with musical treats. Smith’s mahogany and O’Reilly’s pure crystal tones wash over the listener.” (London, Canada)
Michael’s solo CD
Old Man Dancing (on the blog)
Original songs: Accokeek, Sure Has Grown, Ballad Of Dorian Gray, Roger Maris, Ballad Of Phil Spector
Five Stars. Maverick UK!
Michael self-released a recording of the songs from “Michael, Margaret, Pat & Kate,” produced by Hills, in 1994. The Wind River subsidiary of Folk Era Records made the album more widely available in February of 2000. The Wind River version included the previously unheard, doo-wop inspired, “Little Falls” – a tribute to the town where Michael spent his teen years and first performed in a band. The disc also featured an extended version of “Coffeehouse Days.” Apart from a few covers, including the Cole Porter standard “Begin The Beguine” and the traditional “Kilgarry Mountain,” Michael penned the remaining material which included spoken narratives. The upbeat “Belmar” recalls a childhood visit to the beach, “Looking For Maureen” is a tale of unrequited love, while “I Brought My Father With Me” remains one of the most touching songs in Smith’s oeuvre. On 1st January 2000, when we were able to assess the music of the century that had just passed, my rating was that “Michael, Margaret, Pat & Kate” was, by clear miles, the finest album that had been made. I know that I am not alone in that opinion, and pray that one day the small crowd, that I am currently a member of, becomes a nation [and more]. Smith may be recalling events from his own life, but he does it with consummate honesty, in the process capturing the love, heartache, humour, humility, desperation and countless other emotions that constitute this human existence. As an entity, the album is the finest [musical] journey I have ever taken. I revisit it often.
(Arthur Wood, Maverick UK)
B & W photo by Suzanne Plunkett
Center and right photos by Kevin Viol
Michael with a beret J. Friedrich
One Sheet – Main Royal Design